The Selkirk Rex is the result of a dominant, spontaneous mutation that causes each hair (guard, down and awn) to have a gentle curl giving the coat a soft feel. This is a medium to large cat with heavy boning that gives the cat surprising weight and an impression of power. Females may be less massive than males but not dainty in appearance. The Selkirk Rex is an active cat with a sweet and endearing personality. Balance and substance are the essence of the breed, where all parts come together in harmonious whole with neither too much nor too little consideration given to any one feature.
HEAD:Skull: round, broad and full-cheeked in both males and females. Skull structure to be smooth and round to the touch from the stop to the back of the head as well as across the breadth of the forehead and between the ears. Muzzle: the muzzle is medium width. The underlying bone structure is rounded with well-padded whisker pads to give the impression of squareness. The length is equal to 1/2 the width. Profile shows a muzzle, clearly visible beyond the curve of the cheek. The tip of the chin lines up with the tip of the nose and the upper lip in the same vertical plane. Profile reveals a nose stop. The nose has a downward slant with a convex curve and is set below the eye line. Chin: firm and well-developed, balanced in proportion to the rest of the head and should be neither receding, protruding, nor excessively massive. Either level or scissors bite is considered correct (level bite - top and bottom front teeth meet evenly. Scissors bite - inside edge of top front teeth touch outside edge of lower front teeth). Ears: medium in size, broad at the base, tapering, set well apart. Should fit into (without distorting) the rounded contour of the head. Furnishings, if present, are curly. Eyes: large, rounded, set well apart. The eyes should not appear almond or oval-shaped. The outside corner is set very slightly higher than the inner corner, giving a sweet open expression to the face.
BODY: Torso: medium to large and well-balanced. The substantial muscular torso is more rectangular than square, but not long. Back is straight with a slight rise to the hindquarters. Shoulders and hip should appear to be the same width. Legs: medium to long. Substantial boning. Should be in proportion to the body. Feet: large, round, and firm. Toes: five in front, four behind. Tail: medium length, proportionate to body. Heavy at base, neither blunt nor pointed at tip.
COAT: Coat length: two lengths - short and long. The differences in coat length are most obviously seen on the tail and ruff. On the shorthairs the tail hair is the same length as the coat (approximately 1"-2") and tail curls are plush and lie compactly around the tail. The ruff is the same length as the coat fur. On the longhairs, the tail curls are plumy and stand out away from the tail. The ruff hairs are also longer and frame the face.
SHORTHAIR- Texture: the coat texture is soft, plushy, full and obviously curly. Density: the coat is dense and full with no bald or thinly covered areas of the body. The coat stands out from the body and should not appear flat or close-lying. Curl: this is a random, unstructured coat, arranged in loose, individual curls. The curls appear to be in "clumps" rather than as an all over wave. Although curl varies by hair length, sex and age in an individual, the entire coat should show the effect of the rex gene. Curliness may be evident more around the neck, on the tail and the belly. Allowance should be made for less curl on younger adults and kittens.
LONGHAIR - Texture: the coat texture is soft, full, and obviously curly. It does not feel or appear to be as plush as the shorthair coat, however, should not appear to be thin. Density: the coat is dense and full with no bald or thinly covered areas of the body. The coat may stand out from the body but may appear and feel less than plush, but not close-lying. Curl: this is a random, unstructured coat, arranged in loose, individual curls. The curls appear to be in "clumps" or "ringlets" rather than as an all over wave. Although curl vaires by hair length, sex and age in an individual, entire coat should show the effect of the rex gene. Curliness may be evident more around the neck, on the tail and the belly. Allowance should be made for less curl on younger adults and kittens.
Selkirks are healthy and sturdy. They are an incredibly patient, loving, and tolerant cats. From the moment of birth, curly kittens can be distinguished from their straight haired littermates by their curly whiskers. The whiskers are brittle and may break as they grow longer. The whiskers and hair do not change as the cat grows older; if they are curly at birth, they are curly as an adult. Even if the coat later shows less curl, the cat has the curly gene and retains the curly whiskers.
The Selkirk Rex originated in America in 1987, with a cat named Miss DePesto, who was bred to a Persian, producing three Selkirk Rexes and three straight-haired cats. It is a large and solidly built breed, similar to a British Shorthair but with a characteristic curled coat. The coat has a woolly look and feel.
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